Life is full of ups and downs, isn’t it? Look at those poor people affected by the tornedos in Oklahoma and what they are going through. My trials pale in comparison. But I am only human.
Some days I’m on top of the world feeling carefree and light-hearted. Then there are those other days when the pressures and pain of living in this sinful world build to a crescendo and I almost feel like throwing in the towel. I simply cannot fathom how some people can claim there is no sin in this world, but that is not the point of this post.
This has been a particularly tough year on many fronts and I have lamented to my friends about one thing hitting me after another. Computer crashes and job problems are one thing, but the hardest things to bear are the painful actions of close friends and loved ones. When I cried out to God, asking why all these things were happening, he led me to the book of Job.
When Job’s wife told him to “curse God and die” because of all his afflications, Job responded, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (Job 2:10). Well, there you have the answer. Who are we to question what hand God deals us on any given day? Is he not the sovereign ruler of the universe? Are we not clay in the potter’s hands?
But notice I said “almost throw in the towel”. As a follower of Christ, I have a hope. I know that there is a plan for my life and for the trials that I endure. Yes, there is suffering in this world and no, as Christians, we are not immune.
Some believe the goal of life is to eliminate all suffering, but Christ told us that in this life we will have trials “I have said these things to you, that <sup class="crossreference" value="(A)”>in me you may have peace. <sup class="crossreference" value="(B)”>In the world you will have <sup class="crossreference" value="(C)”>tribulation. But <sup class="crossreference" value="(D)”>take heart; <sup class="crossreference" value="(E)”>I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Suffering has a purpose. Romans 5:3 – 5 says “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
The goal is not to avoid suffering, but to learn from it. What is it that you are going through today? What is causing you pain, anxiety, or stress? Whatever it is, consider these words from James.
“Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials <sup class="crossreference" value="(F)”>of various kinds, for you know that <sup class="crossreference" value="(G)”>the testing of your faith <sup class="crossreference" value="(H)”>produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be <sup class="crossreference" value="(I)”>perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Trust that there is a purpose in your suffering, although we may not understand it at the time and please, don’t lose the lesson.
Until next time, keep looking up!